Last night at the gym, I tried Pilates for the first time. Tara and I have been talking about going to the class for a while now, but I kept chickening out. Not last night! I made it through the whole class.
It was not easy, however. On the way up the stairs to the classroom, it was all I could do to keep from turning and running back down the stairs, seeking refuge in the basement amongst the free weights and B.O. where I spend most of my time at the gym. But Tara was with me serving as my permission slip for going to girls-only places and doing girls-only things.
It had started with the women’s clothing section. I used to hate such shopping trips back when we were barely dating. Waiting outside the dressing rooms alone, standing awkwardly amongst the intimate apparel, not knowing what to do with my hands left me longing for an invisibility cloak and some better antiperspirant. But over time it got easier, and before I knew it, I was perfectly content in such circumstances. We graduated to Victoria’s Secret, which eventually lead to a solo VS run last year when I got Tara some flannel PJ’s for Christmas. Granted, it took me two laps around the mall to build up the kahunas to actually enter the store, but I eventually managed to slip in amongst a big group of teenage girls.
And so I decided I was finally ready for a Pilates class. After all, Pilates works the core which improves balance and stability, which in turn improves the only thing that matters in life: Snowboarding.
We entered the classroom. The estrogen count was through the roof. Girls everywhere. Some grabbing mats and baby-sized dumbbells from big totes, others already sitting cross-legged on their mats, shoes removed, still others using the restroom at the back of the classroom, the door inexplicably wide open.
At first, I only spotted one other man in the room–the ubiquitous fitness class creeper. He looked to be in his mid 60s, was there alone, and was sporting a rather impressive handlebar mustache. “Are you kidding me?”, I heard him mutter to himself as he came to stand behind me in line for a mat. Perhaps he was mad another dude was there.
Three other men had joined the class late. One seemed to be quite experienced and also seemed to have a thing for the instructor. The other two may have been gay.
With much guidance from Tara, I gathered my own compliment of Pilates gear and set up my space: Not-so-cushiony yoga mat goes on top of more-cushiony mat, exercise ball goes on top of ball holder (these are apparently for noobs only) . I sat on my mat to remove my shoes, hoping to sit meditative like some of the other participants before the class began, but had barely gotten my shoes off when the instructor came in and immediately turned on loud pop music and started calling out maneuvers in what I can only describe as Pilates jargon.
The commands were coming so fast and so Chinese to me that I could only look at the instructor’s motions to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing. Often, my view of the instructor was obscured by dozens of elevated legs, arms, or pelvises, so I had to watch Tara and some of the other people in the class who looked to me like they knew what they were doing. This worked fairly well at first, but soon we were assuming positions and movements that typically require a browser history purge when viewed online. It was at some point during this that the instructor actually used the word “Cervix”, and I was wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into.
Once I was able to figure out what “Point”, “Flex”, “Articulate”, and “Pulse” mean in Pilates, I began to feel much less awkward and was actually rather enjoying myself. I also realized the reason for the loud music, which I had found obnoxious at first, having expected Pilates to be a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. The music covers up the inevitable mid-plank fart. This phenomenon only happened to me once, but I caught whiff of another. Tara, for the record, swears it was not her.
After the class, I felt totally relaxed and slept amazing that night. Today I am friggin’ sore. Who knew? Pilates is actually a good workout. I’ll probably go again, if only to see if the instructor says “Fallopian Tubes”.
After proofreading, Tara informed me the instructor said “Cervical” and was referring to the cervical spine, or the neck. Wow, I was totally flexing the wrong area on that one…